Oil Extraction Methods: LLR vs CO2 vs Distillate

When it comes to vape cartridges, there is a reason these are some of the most popular items for medicating. Vaping is easy to dose, portable, and simple to use. Little upkeep is needed to keep a pen and battery ready to go at all times. Cartridges are easy to replace and batteries are rechargeable. Some options, like disposable pens, do not even require charging and can be disposed of when the oil is gone.

A lot of work goes into taking cannabis from a plant form and extracting the medicinal compounds and not all oil is extracted in the same method. This blog will explore the three most common types of extraction methods to produce vape cartridges, Live Liquid Resin, CO2, and Distillate.

Live liquid resin extractions include any that have the phrase “live”, and are known for having full flavor profiles. This includes concentrates, such as waxes, sugars, and budders. Cannabis plants are flash frozen after harvest to preserve freshness and left in subcritical temperatures before and during extraction. Curing degrades terpenes, which are the source of flavor and aroma. Flash freezing allows many of the natural terpenes and cannabinoids to remain. Butane hash oil, or BHO, is used as a solvent to remove the cannabinoids from the plant material. Live liquid resin, or LLR, have high terpene profiles for extracts and are flavorful and pungent.

CO2 oil is made using plants that have been dried and cured after harvesting. Supercritical cooled fluid CO2 is run through a closed loop system to extract substances. This method is used to extract terpenes, cannabinoids, and other plant compounds. CO2 extracted oil can often be vicious and too thick for vaporization. Terpenes derived from cannabis are blended back into the oil to create a more fluid substances and mimic the strain’s natural terpene profile. Flavored pens and oils are made this way, but are blended with food grade terpenes. CO2 is considered one of the safest extraction methods and delivered a product that can be less harsh.

Distillate oils are processed similarly to a CO2 extraction, but due to a multistage extraction process, the end result highly refined, nearly pure oil. Oil is first extracted using the supercritical CO2 extraction method. In order to distill the oil in a purer form, more refinement is needed. Short path distillation, a process that uses pressure, steam, and heat, is performed. Compounds are separated through distillation and less desirable compounds are unincluded. THC distillate is clear to light yellow and is slightly viscous, similar to honey. This process can result in oils that reach 99% purity. Terpenes can be blended with distillate to create a product that is thinner and easier to vape.